Mnuchin on robots taking US jobs: 'It's not even on our radar screen ... 50-100 more years' away

David Reid for CNBC: U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he was not worried about the mass displacement of U.S. workers by robots and could be a century before a labor crisis eventuates. "It's not even on our radar screen ... 50-100 more years," Mnuchin said.

New Study Shows U.S. is World Leader in Robotics Automation - With $732 Billion of Robots

A new study from Redwood Software and the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) finds that the U.S. is the world leader in robotics automation investment, with an estimated robotics stock of $732 billion* - larger than the economy of Switzerland, which stood at $446 billion* in 2015. 

U.S. investment in robotics was $86 billion in 2015, up from less than $40 billion in 2009, when investment hit a low following the financial crisis, and more than 15 times higher than the OECD average. Between 2011 and 2015, U.S. investments in robotics rose 30%. 
"The U.S. is the world leader in robotics investment, and spending has recovered quickly since the financial crisis in 2009," said David Whitaker, Managing Economist at CEBR. "The sheer size of the economy and its large base of production in the automotive and electronic sectors make it a natural candidate for increased automation."   Full Press Release:

ABB sells its first ever robot manufactured in the US to Hitachi Powdered Metals USA

ABB has sold its first robot manufactured in the United States. The IRB 2600 robot is the first to be produced at the ABB Auburn Hills, Michigan facility, and was sold by ABB Value Provider, CIM SYSTEMS, INC. to Hitachi Powdered Metals USA.  

The compact robot, which is painted with special commemorative red, white and blue paint, will be used for material handling of in-process engine component parts at the Hitachi Greensburg, Indiana facility.  It is the 180th ABB robot at the Hitachi plant, which installed its first ABB robot in 2005. 

“The sale of ABB’s first robot produced in the US to Hitachi is a tremendous milestone in the development of our manufacturing presence in the Americas,”  Full News Release:

Hot Jobs Study Reports IT a Top Industry

For entry level manufacturing positions, higher education is not normally required. Instead, a personal and commercial driver's license, and special certifications such as an Occupational Safety & Health Administration Certification, Food Safety Program education, and HAZM

World Robotics Federation IFR: Why Bill Gates' Robot Tax is Wrong

The following is a statement by the World Federation of Robotics IFR:

Tech firms keep expanding 'Robotics Row,' Pittsburgh's mini Silicon Valley

Aaron Aupperlee for TribLive:  Advancements in robotics, autonomous manufacturing, self-driving cars and more are taking place in the former warehouses, factories and foundries of Pittsburgh's Strip District and Lawrenceville neighborhoods.

Argo AI, an self-driving car startup partnering with Ford, became the latest to join Robotics Row, a string of technology companies setting up shop along the Allegheny River.

The company announced Thursday it would base its headquarters in the Strip District.

"We see the Strip District as a mini Silicon Valley," Argo AI CEO Bryan Salesky told the Tribune-Review. "In my mind, that is the future of the tech hub in Pittsburgh."

At least 20 companies and organizations working on robotics and autonomous technologies call the three-mile stretch of riverfront home. Cont'd...

Brainstorm the Future

Robots will take our jobs and "move the cheese" for those seeking to replace those jobs. Simply referring to the old adages (Cars put blacksmiths out of work ... and they survived) will not suffice in modern times.

Rise of Robots: Boon for Companies, Tax Headache for Lawmakers

Linda A. Thompson for Bloomberg News Agency:  European lawmakers are grappling for answers to a question that until recently seemed like the stuff of science fiction: If robots take our jobs, who will pay taxes?

In an age of unprecedented technological change occurring at a faster rate than the Industrial Revolution, concerns over the growing robotization and automation of work have prompted fears about mass unemployment and plummeting tax revenue in the near future, pitting companies and robotics manufacturers against lawmakers and worker advocates.

The issue is taking on new urgency ahead of a Feb. 16 vote before the EU Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee on whether to create a robotics agency to deliberate on tax and liability issues.  Cont'd...

Boeing buys Liquid Robotics to boost autonomous surveillance at sea

Alan Boyle for Geekwire:  The Boeing Co. says it has agreed to acquire Liquid Robotics, its teammate in a years-long effort to create surfboard-sized robots that can use wave power to roam the seas.

The acquisition is expected to help Boeing create military communication networks that can transmit information autonomously from the sea to satellites via Sensor Hosting Autonomous Remote Craft, or SHARCs.

Liquid Robotics was founded in 2007 and currently has about 100 employees in California and Hawaii. Once the deal is completed, the company will become a subsidiary of Boeing. The arrangement is similar to the one that applies to Insitu, a Boeing subsidiary that is headquartered in Bingen, Wash., and manufactures ScanEagle military-grade drones.  Cont'd...

 

Robots won't kill the workforce. They'll save the global economy.

Ruchir Sharma for The Washington Post:  The United Nations forecasts that the global population will rise from 7.3 billion to nearly 10 billion by 2050, a big number that often prompts warnings about overpopulation. Some have come from neo-Malthusians, who fear that population growth will outstrip the food supply, leaving a hungry planet. Others appear in the tirades of anti-immigrant populists, invoking the specter of a rising tide of humanity as cause to slam borders shut. Still others inspire a chorus of neo-Luddites, who fear that the “rise of the robots” is rapidly making human workers obsolete, a threat all the more alarming if the human population is exploding.

Before long, though, we’re more likely to treasure robots than to revile them. They may be the one thing that can protect the global economy from the dangers that lie ahead.  Cont'd...

A.I. and robotics could replace 6% of U.S. jobs by 2021

Sharon Gaudin  for ComputerWorld:  In just five years, intelligent systems and robots may have taken up to 6% of U.S. jobs, according to Forrester Research in a report released this week.

As artificial intelligence (A.I.) advances to better understand human behavior and make decisions on its own in complicated situations, it will enable smart software and robots to take on increasingly challenging jobs.  That means robotics should be able to take over some jobs traditionally held by humans by 2021.

For instance, Forrester predicts that smart systems like autonomous robots, digital assistants, A.I. software and chatbots will take over customer service rep jobs and eventually even serve as truck and taxi drivers.  Cont'd...

Engineering graduate lands job at top automation firm

Stephen Pithouse attained a first class degree in Electronic Engineering (BEng) in July, and will soon be joining FANUC at their base in Coventry, contributing to the growing industrial strength of the Midlands.

Rise in Robotics Requires New Tax Approach, EU Report Warns

Linda A. Thompson for Bloomberg:  European lawmakers warn that the growing use of robots and artificial intelligence may cause job losses across the continent, threatening to result in plummeting tax revenues if current tax frameworks aren't revised to account for the rise of the robotic workforce.

Practitioners told Bloomberg BNA that taxing robots as “electronic persons,” as the EU contemplates in a recent report, would hinder innovation and that other ways of taxing the value that robotics create should be explored.

The recent European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs draft reportrecommends the European Commission adopt a resolution to require companies to report on “the extent and proportion of the contribution of robotics and AI to the economic results of a company for the purpose of taxation and social security contributions.” Its first paragraph references Frankenstein, and comes amid mounting concerns that the rise in automation and artificial intelligence in the workplace will fundamentally alter economies, destroy jobs and jeopardize social welfare programs such as social security.  Cont'd...

Foxconn Replaces 60,000 Labourers With Robots in China

Subhrojit Mallick  for GIZMODO India:   Apple and Samsung phone manufacturer, Foxconn has already taken a step towards the dystopian future. The South China Morning Post reported the manufacturing giant has replaced 60,000 laborers with robots. The total strength of Foxconn factory workers reduced from 110,000 to 50,000, marking a huge shift towards automation of routine jobs. 
The Foxconn technology group confirmed to the BBC that they are automating many of the manufacturing tasks associated with their operations by introducing robots. However, they maintained the move will not affect long-term job losses.   Cont'd...

The US service-sector jobs at risk from a robot revolution

Sam Fleming for Financial Times:  When Andy Puzder, chief executive of restaurant chains Carl’s Jr and Hardee’s, said in March that rising employment costs could drive the spread of automation in the fast-food sector, he tapped into a growing anxiety in the US.

From touchscreen ordering systems to burger-flipping robots and self-driving trucks, automation is stalking an increasing number of professions in the country’s service sector, which employs the vast majority of the workforce.

Two-fifths of US employees are in occupations where at least half their time is spent doing activities that could be automated by adapting technology already available, according to research from the McKinsey Global Institute. These include the three biggest occupations in the country: retail salespeople, store cashiers and workers preparing and serving food, collectively totalling well over 10m people.

Yet evidence of human obsolescence is conspicuous by its absence in the US’s economic statistics. The country is in the midst of its longest private-sector hiring spree on record, adding 14.4m jobs over 73 straight months, and productivity grew only 1.4 per cent a year from 2007 to 2014, compared with 2.2 per cent from 1953 to 2007. Those three big occupations all grew 1-3 per cent from 2014 to 2015.  Cont'd...

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